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Epidural or No Epidural? Stories/ experiences welcome! - Page 2

post #21 of 27
Originally Posted by greenmamato2 View Post

Regarding fatigue - part of that probably has to do with what time you went into labor.  With my first, I went into labor at about 8pm, and labored another 17 hours, so it was theoretically 2 days without sleep and LOTS of hard work.  I was exhausted.  BUT... if I had just woken up in the morning and gone into labor, the exhaustion may not have been so bad.

and that's why my midwife tells clients to try and take an afternoon nap during the third trimester. not that I ever managed to do that. 

post #22 of 27
When I was pregnant the first time, I always wanted to have a natural delivery but was not completely opposed to an epidural if it would keep me from having a csection. When labor came, it was exactly 5 hrs from being admitted before the little guy was born. Needless to say, I had no idea labor would go that quick!!! I would've never considered it at all if I knew it'd be so fast and easy! When I was past 7 cm I was so excited cause then it was too late for one!
post #23 of 27
My advice would be to educate yourself about the pros and cons and risks before hand, but then wait and see how it goes. I planned for a natural labor during my first pregnancy and plan on another natural labor/birth this time around.

Active labor started for me at 10pm and my son wasn't born until 8pm the following evening. I ended up deciding on a dose of IV pain medication sbout 16 hours in due to fatigue and panic abut how intense it was once my water broke. I was able to rest, relax, and refocus. It was completely worn off by the time I pushed. Even though I was hoping for an all natural experience, in retrospect I think I made the right choice at the time. I had an amazing doula and DH supporting me, and have no regrets. This time I'm hoping for a shorter, medication-free labor....that hopefully starts at a better time!
post #24 of 27

I did not have an epidural when my son was born, and I didn't feel any need for one.  Honestly, I have had worse headaches.  In a bad headache, the peak pain lasts about 30 minutes and has a terrifying quality to it; in labor, each peak pain was more like 2 minutes (even in transition, which was about 20 minutes of pretty intense suffering, the WORST pains were brief with lulls of lesser discomfort in between) and it felt purposeful.  A friend had recommended getting through transition by telling myself, "At this time tomorrow, all this will be over," and I found that very helpful.


The idea of a needle in my spinal column terrifies me; so many things can go wrong!  The idea of being unable to FEEL the amazing experience of birth also creeps me out.  I wound up needing an episiotomy, so there was topical anesthetic for that.  It meant that a portion of the sensation of birth (the most external part, and just the bottom edge) was numbed, but still I definitely felt my baby emerging.  It was so cool, not because the sensation was pleasant really but because it felt like such an achievement--like losing my virginity, only bigger and inside out! orngbiggrin.gif


To prevent fatigue, I recommend not pushing until your body tells you to push.  I was convinced to start pushing early by my midwife and nurse acting like they really expected it of me or they were in a hurry or something.  I pushed for 2 hours, and I think only the last 30 or 40 minutes was really worthwhile, and by then I was kind of tired.  I should have listened to my instinct to cuddle up in my man's lap and just rest for a little while and recover from the transition...and I bet I would've pushed more effectively and my baby would not have gone into distress (meconium release just before I finally got him out).  My midwife actually agreed when we discussed this at the postpartum checkup.

post #25 of 27

With baby #1, I had an epidural 12 minutes before he was born.  Immediately after it was administered, my blood pressure tanked, baby's heartrate dropped into the 60s, and chaos erupted in the room.  The midwife was yelling to get the OR prepped, while checking me, finding me fully dilated, and placing a vacuum on our son's head.  He yelled at me to "PUSH!", and he came out in just a few pushes.  (His heart rate quickly recovered and he cried almost immediately.)  A couple hours after birth, they had me get up to go the bathroom and I fainted because my BP was still so low.  By 24 hours after the birth, I had developed a spinal headache because the anesthesiologist had nicked my spinal column during the procedure.  I could not lift my head without crying from the pain.  After putting up with that for another 24 hours (they have me percoset, but that did nothing), I went back to the hospital and got a blood patch.  Twenty minutes later, I felt a thousand times better.


My experience is not typical, but dropping blood pressure happens around 20% of the time.  Spinal headaches occur in 1-2% of epidurals.  


Now, after all that, 11 hours into my Pitocin induction with baby #2, I still asked for an epidural.  Fortunately, the anesthesiologist was wheeling his cart in right when I was saying, "I'm pushing!"


(I wised up with baby #3 and had him at home smile.gif.)


As a doula, I rarely see moms get epidurals if they say they don't want one before labor begins.  The only times I've seen them are 1) long labor and 2) inductions.  (Even these aren't guarantees, of course: I've seen days-long labors and Pit inductions without epidurals as well.)  If you don't want one, I'd recommend:

1. hire a doula

2. don't go to the hospital until you're in very active labor (and go home again if you go in and are 4 cm or less)

3. don't get induced (unless medically indicated -- then get a second opinion)

4. when you first go into labor, take a nap!  (I like everyone else's suggestions, too, for keeping up energy and dealing with a super long labor)

5. consider chiropractic and/or info from spinningbabies.com to optimize baby's position before labor

post #26 of 27

I cried while getting the epidural with my 2nd, like to the point the guy doing the epidural was reluctant to do it. My 1st was an emergency c/s, the spinal didn't take so they flat knocked me out to take her and I wanted a natural birth so bad. DD2's birth was in the ballpark of 36 hours, I hurt and was so tired, it was nearly 24 hours in and the other pain meds weren't putting a dent in it. I did manage to get some sleep, but it slowed the labor down so I had to have pitocin. It's a cascade effect. w/ DD3 I thought I would finally get my natural birth, early labor started at 2 in the morning, I went to my already scheduled appt that afternoon, the dr predicted I would probably have her in a day or two. I made DH come home for a booty call labor picked up within an hour, 5 hours later I was in awful pain, so we headed to the hospital so I could get my epidural, once again it slowed th labor so had to be countered w/ pitocin, but this time the hard labor was only 12 hours. I have learned my lesson now. Don't try to speed up your labor, it's not worth it. I think if I had just let things take their time I could have made it med free. I think people should research their pain options, have a lesser pain option (the many pain pills and IV meds) and know for sure if you want to do a hardcore pain option like an epidural. If you want a natural birth then try, but if you do your research before hand then you will know what to ask for when you hit your threshold.


Also wanted to add, like some other women are pointing out. My labor w/ DD3 the contractions were 3minutes with 10 seconds in between, the dr said she'd never seen anything like it. They were literally back to back and long. Every labor is different, so you just have to be prepared for anything. Research research research and have a back up plan as well.

Edited by tibris - 4/15/12 at 6:09am
post #27 of 27

I wanted the same thing and wound up with a c-section (my daughter was positioned poorly and then her heart rate dropped). In a last-ditch effort to get her to turn, the midwife suggested pitocin and an epi. 


I was probably the only person I know to hate the epi. I had 20-something hours of back labor, and to go from feeling everything to being totally numb was creepy. You'll also need a catheter and an IV, and won't be able to move. Catheters can be linked to developing UTIs post-partum, and excessive IV fluids can postpone your breastmilk from coming in. Epis can slow down progress in labor and can affect a baby's heart rate (which might've been what happened to my daughter). JMO, but I would try to avoid it if possible. 

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